Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hamming It Up

I realize how much I miss Jonathan when I see this video. I laugh about every 3 1/2 seconds when I'm with him. Here we are--- Jonathan, Trish, MK and I at the Los Padres National Park in California. Johnathan makes up a song, and MK notes danger nearby.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Steph's Birthday Party!

Here is the entire recording of the "We Love Steph Show," recorded at MK studios in downtown Waltham, MA. As you can see, many local celebrities made cameo appearances. Many haikus were recited.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Now They Know How Many Holes It Takes

On the second banner day in the Los Angeles area Jonathan, Trish, MK and I headed out to Rancho Palas Verdes. This was a great walk along the ocean, right beside a huge golf course owned by Donald Trump. We were intrigued by the cacti along the trail, so close to the beach. We also saw little lizards darting about, and frolicking rabbits. 

After walking for a bit, we climbed down a series of switchbacks and sat on the beach for awhile. Twas bliss indeed. We saw some sea anemones none of us could identify, and I collected several stones with perfectly smooth, bored holes. I have seen stones affected by the current of the ocean before, but these holes seemed purposeful. Some were little tunnels right through the center of the rock, and you could just about stick your fat finger inside. 

Turns out these holes are likely made by a sea creature called the bivalve piddock mollusk. They reside inside the stone for awhile, sometimes leaving their shell behind. I did find many rocks with shells inside. Hail to these little critters for making an interesting day at the beach.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I love Susan Piver's work. She is the author of "The Wisdom of a Broken Heart," and a member of the local Shambhala Center here in Brookline MA that I attend! She has an Open Heart Project website, which I signed up for. Everyday she emails out tips about meditation, information about Buddhist philosophy, and practice videos. I love her! Here is a video on laziness which I related to so much today. My only thought is: she doesn't talk about the antidote to laziness! (Oh, that's coming Monday)

According to the Buddhists, Laziness is:
1. Regular Laziness (inertia) 
2. Disheartened Laziness
3. Being 'too busy' laziness

The #1 Obstacle to Meditation Practice from susan piver on Vimeo.

We're looking at the big sky

On the way back from our banner day at Los Padres National Park, the day couldn't have gotten any more bannerish until Trish and I spotted these odd cloud formations off the freeway near the Pyramid Lake region. 

Trish took several photographs as well, and I wouldn't mind seeing them. Trish, I'll show you mine if you show me yours. Ha Ha!

The sunset wasn't bad either.

Los Padres National Park pt. 3

As we drove around Los Padres National Park, we passed some beautiful scenery. There were plenty of pull-offs to stop and take pictures and breathe the air. All in all, friends, it was a banner day etched in the Baron's mind like none other!
MK handled those hair-pin turns with a smile; I was in the 
back seat having several heart attacks & strokes

Los Padres National Park pt. 2

Here are some action shots from our second hike the Los Padres National Park. As far as hiking goes, I'm afraid we didn't go far and brave the elements much. We walked enough, though, to get a sense of the trail. The vast blue sky is perhaps the most prominent aspect in my mind. The varied vegetation also is an experience. We saw a tree with an amazing, smooth, skin-like bark. Also, there are pine trees in the park that grow gigantic pine cones! Literally the size of a child's head! Unfortunately, we couldn't find any intact ones, though it would have been awkward to take back on the plane anyway.
A Kulig in the wilderness without much food

What kind of tree are you?

Los Padres National Park pt. 1

The wayward companions
On the first full day in Los Angeles, we all packed up and drove to the Los Padres National Park in Kern County California. Jonathan drove because I was leery about the LA freeway.

Los Padres National park is a beautiful park nestled in the Sierra Madre mountain range, among other mountain ranges. When we first arrived we saw a hummingbird feeding near the visitor center. She was a gorgeous purple and dark green color.

The park was quiet with few visitors, even though it was a Monday holiday. We went on two hikes, one short loop through the woods, and another longer jaunt more out in the open. We bravely forded several streams, and we saw many backpackers heading out of the outback from their weekend travels. 

We stopped a lot along the road to take pictures. The park reminded me a bit of Mt. Rainier.

Jonathan and El Burro
We also stopped in the nearby town of Ojai, where there was a Buddhist retreat center, and the smell of incense wafting through the air. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Red Rock Canyon

On Thursday of last week Trish and I visited Red Rock Canyon, in the Cantil and Mojave area of California. It was a long drive, but well worth the welcome sparsity, isolation and beautiful sights seen. In a couple of hours you can escape the overwhelmingly, densely populated human hub of Los Angeles.

I do not mind the kind of driving the desert area offers--- long open horizon, vast blue sky, nothing but tumbleweeds and cacti and joshua trees on the side of the highway. It seems like driving in the desert should take hours, though I do occasionally have panicked visions of the car breaking down in the middle of no where, and lack of water.

We stopped in a visitor center in Mojave. The lovely lady there offered us tips and information. Trish got a few free posters, and I wandered around examining the book and map collection. We also ate lunch in a Subway in Mojave, which was surprisingly crowded, and visited a thrift store.

We walked around the desert, though not for very long. The heat was overbearing. The rock formations in Red Rock are extremely odd looking, in a spooky, other-worldly way. I put my hand on the 'rock' wall and discovered that it could be chipped away easily.
That's me up there yonder

Many little lizards ran around, but not much else. I did see plenty of tantalizing signs of life in the sand, though, mostly tracks of the nocturnal creatures. I stopped and looked at a rattlesnake warning poster. I kind of wanted to see a rattlesnake, but not really.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Topanga Canyon

Day three in the Los Angeles area brought me to Topanga Canyon in Calabasas Highlands, California. I dropped MK off in the morning in downtown LA, and then headed out on the freeway. It was not far. I was just about there when Jonathan called and said that he and Trish were driving out to meet me. I welcomed the company. especially in case of cougar attack.

Once again it was a beautiful day, and I had no complaints except that for some reason I wasn't feeling so well physically. The hiking and adjustment to the very hot weather seemed difficult for me.We walked out on a great trail, mostly in the sun, and it was unlike any trail at home. Lizards in the air, the distant, hazy Pacific Ocean, and mountain side bungalows in the distance. Jonathan climbed out on a very high jutting rock as Trish and I hid in the shade.

As Jonathan informed me, Topanga is quite famous for its wealthy and irreverent residents throughout the years. It has been an enclave for rich hippies and transcendentalists and philosophers.In quaint, downtown Topanga we visited a Mexican grocery store and a vintage clothing store.Cool days.